Crystal Balls 2018: Ubon UMT Utd


The 2018 season will soon be upon us, so it’s time for The Sandpit to take out our crystal balls, give them a good polish, and proudly display them to our readership. We kick off this year’s previews with Erick Ombuya Kiyondi (aka Waka) telling us what he thinks the season has in store for his beloved Ubon UMT Utd…


What was your highlight of the 2017 season?

Beating Muangthong both home and away.


How will your team fare in 2018?

Top 10.


Who is your most exciting new signing?

Our new boss, Mixu Patalaainen.


Which departed players from 2017 will you miss the most? Who are you glad to see the back of?

I will dearly miss Victor Cardozo but glad Nebihi left to join Port. (So are we! – Ed)


What changes would you like to see at your club? Or are you happy with the way things are going?

We need strikers, and we need NEW full backs since all our guys were either sold to other clubs or went with our coach (Scott Cooper) to Tero.


Which teams will be in contention for the T1 title, and who will win?

Though its early to tell, I can bet on Buriram, Chiangrai and Bangkok United, I can surely say 1st to 3rd spot goes to these teams. Muangthong is done now, it is an average club, they have lost many good players.


Which 5 – yes 5 – teams will go down to T2, and which 3 will come up to T1?

Again too early to tell but my predictions: 1.Sukhothai 2.Prachuap 3.Chainat 4.Navy 5.Nakhonratchasima(Suphanburi)

COMING UP TO T1: 1.PTT Rayong ( sure bet) 2. Lampang or Sisaket 3.Angtong (sure bet)


Which fixtures are you most looking forward to in 2018?

Ubon UMT vs
1.Police Tero (half of our players moved there with Scott Cooper)
2. Port FC ( we never win at PAT) (Get used to it Erick! – Ed)
3. Muang-shit Utd

Thai football crowds are declining year on year. Why do you think this is, and what can be done to make the game more popular?

Football timing and schedule in Thai league is a joke, games on Wednesday and kick off is 17:00, how the hell can a working fan travel from Rangsit to PAT Stadium with the traffic in Bangkok? So fans end up taking the better and easier option of watching on TV. Another thing THE BREAK is too long, if THAI FA could listen then they should not interrupt games for weeks or even a month as we have seen in the past. It should be continuous that makes fans to keep talking about football and the next game. This year being the year for World Cup I don’t see this to be better anymore, we might end up having games on Mondays even Fridays. Thai FA should sit down and see what they can do about this.

Finally, give us your three wishes for the 2018 season.

1. God help Ubon UMT not to go down.And finish top 10.(dreams are valid)
2. Win both home and away against Muang-shit
3. Beat Port FC at PAT. I won’t care if you beat us at Ubon.


Big thanks to Erick for sharing his thoughts with us and good luck to Ubon in 2018! If you want to tell us about your team’s hopes for 2018, then all you have to do is complete this questionnaire.

Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365, ITV.com, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

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